Monday, January 18, 2010

Anthony Easton

photographs, push pins, binder clips
Top to bottom, left to right:
1st Row: Small American Flag and Buildings, Rochester; World Books, Rochester Public Library 
Ferris Wheel near Rochester; Syracuse Art Gallery, Pat; Reproductions of the first edition of the Book Of Mormon, Palmyra. 2nd Row:Warhol Shadows, DIA:Beacon; Mormon Burying the Golden Tablets; Poughkeepsie Galleria; Red Ball Target, Poughkeepsie; 19th Century Farming Implement, Smith Farm. 3rd Row: Visitors Centre for the Sacred Grove;Scottish Inn, Utica; Coverlet ca 1835, Palmyra; Ye Olde Pizza Pub, Sherrill; Vote, Beacon.  4th Row: Buckled Plastic, Plumbing Office, Poughkeepsie; Silver Ice bucket and Mirror, Oneida Mansion House; Mirror and Pat, Poughkeepsie; Three floaters, Beacon; Teal Pipe, Beacon; White House Near Cooperstown

Anthony's Statement:

Vacation Photos:

There used to be this joke about carousels of vacation slides and dry evenings where people were forced to watch them.  150 photos of the Grand Canyon, or the same 18 shots of Disneyland, or found postcards of roadside tourist traps.  There have been some attempts to recreate these images through curation and cultural capital as a legitimate and once lost history of the genre.  You can see it in websites like Square America, exhibitions like The History of the American Snapshot, or in projects like Martin Parr's collections of boring postcards.
I am interested in how to re-make the spirit of these vernacular forms; not through theory, but by a kind of performance working through of historical memes.  In this case, the photos here are a document of my vacation to upstate New York:  hotel rooms, highways, museums, and roadside stops.  In this capacity, they're at once an attempt to make vacation photos again--to reclaim the boring aspects it away from the aesthetes.  I do this with a point and shoot camera, with developing the photos at a 24 hour CVS on the highway across the interstate from a Barnes and Noble and a Stop and Shop.
There is some newness to this procedure, an ease that can only be made via digital cameras, the editing done now on lap tops, the storage being done on USB sticks, but the core of this is to force people to look at my vacation photos, not as a move of aesthetic difference.
Though there is an aesthetic difference here, there is a history of art photography here that cannot be ignored, that there is an element of Shore selling postcards in Texas here; an element of making aesthetic that which was first intended to be documentary.  The ambiguity of art practice and documentary practice in photography is something that continues to fascinate me, and this work is intended to process those issues.

A slideshow of Anthony's entire upstate photo essay.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Anthony Easton lives in Toronto, Canada.